image courtesy of the ABC
The mining and resource companies are always telling us that local economies and local communities benefit from all the money spent by those who work in the mines.
In the Pilbara and Kimberley region of WA 78% of mining salaries earned in the region are not spent in the region. The reason is the fly in fly out workforce.
Compare that figure to Queensland where 39% of mining salaries are spent outside the area.
For every $100 earned by miners in those regions, workers in the social welfare and health sectors earn $48 and workers in the retail trade earn $29.
Those other workers actually live in the Pilbara and Kimberley towns and have to survive the massively inflated costs of living, housing and basic good and services that are driven up by the mining boom, without the huge salaries of their mining counterparts.
They also live in towns suffering from the lack of long term investment by governments, the mining companies and the private sector in an adequate level of social infrastructure and public goods and services. And they face the health, social and environmental consequences of living in close proximity to industrial plants and mining sites.
The boom economy does not reach many of those who have to live in the shadow of the mining industry.